Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
The lines “arre o Sambha” (hey Sambha) bring back instant memories to a whole generation of Indian moviegoers.
The person they were addressed to, perched on a craggy rock toting a rifle, played a miniscule role in the film but his character went on to be one of the most loved of our times.
When “Sambha” (or Macmohan as he was known off screen) passed away on Monday, we lost one of the iconic characters in “Sholay” and also one of the few remaining character artistes in our films — the ones who would always be the villain’s cronies or the neighbourhood doctor who announces that the heroine is pregnant.
I think Ramesh Sippy’s “Sholay” was the huge hit it was partly because of the “repeat value” dialogues it had — so many of them.
The last thing I expected A.R. Rahman to do during his Oscar speech is invoke Salim-Javed. After all, you don’t expect to hear one of Bollywood’s most famous dialogues on Hollywood’s biggest night. But in hindsight, I am so glad he said “mere paas maa hain.”
Not only did he demonstrate his love and respect for his mother, he also pretty much made that particular one-liner from Hindi cinema world famous. Melodramatic and over-the-top though it may have been, Shashi Kapoor saying those four words to his brother (Amitabh Bachchan) in “Deewar” remains one of my favourite moments in Indian cinema.